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Delta Airlines to buy 36 used aircraft amid travel demand recovery

Delta Airlines has announced that it is purchasing 36 used aircraft as it ‘continues to streamline and modernize its fleet’. 29 of these 36 aircrafts are Boeing B737-900ERs while the remaining seven are Airbus A350-900s.

During the travel downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta decided to immediately retire 18 Boeing B777s, MD80s and MD90s, which Delta says were older and inefficient. The airline also says that the pandemic has provided unique business opportunities to add newer generation aircraft at ‘attractive prices’.

Delta will lease the A350s through AerCap and purchase 27 of the 737-900ERs from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P., while the remaining two 737-900ERs will be financed from funds also managed by Castlelake, L.P. Both transactions are subject to closing conditions. Deliveries of the aircraft will be completed by the first quarter of 2022, and they will enter service after modifications are completed.

Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Airlines, said:

These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future. As we look past the pandemic, Delta’s disciplined, innovative approach to fleet renewal positions us for growth as travel demand returns, while enhancing the customer experience and supporting our sustainability commitments.

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Delta says that wide body fleet renewal is important for the airline’s recovery, and will help position itself for sustained profitability and future growth. As Delta’s flagship aircraft, the A350 provides a better customer experience, enhances cargo capacity, reduces unit costs and contributes to a more sustainable future.

The Airbus A350s burn 21% less fuel per seat than the B777s they replace. The acquisition of 29 narrowbody 737-900ERs also complement Delta’s existing fleet. In addition to the seven A350s that are part of this announcement, Delta currently has 15 A359s in service and 20 on order. The addition of the 29 737-900ERs will bring the total to 159 in its fleet.

This comes after Delta Airlines, in April, agreed to buy 25 more A321neos, of which it will begin taking deliveries next year. The Atlanta-based carrier notes that the A321neos offer the lowest seat costs in the airline’s fleet.

Meanwhile, Delta recently announced that it would be returning to London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 from 15th July 2021 along with its partner Virgin Atlantic. The airline has also increased flights to Europe and will also make a return to South Africa with nonstop flights to Johannesburg. The carrier recently took delivery of its 50th Airbus A220.

Featured image by Delta Airlines

What do you think of Delta’s newest aircraft order? Let me know in the comments section below.

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